The Families of Anielioka and Berestovitz
This web page is about the German families of Anielowka and Berestowitz, Volhynia, Russia during the period of 1860 to 1890. The writings, however, particularly focus on the Remus family and their linkages to the other families. So the story starts with my great-grandfather August Wilhelm Remus and great-grandmother Wilhelmina Harwardt. Click here for the Remus family tree. My great-grandfather August Remus came from Neutuchel, West Prussia. Click the History of the Remus Family in West Prussia for more details. My great-grandmother Wilhelmina Harwardt came from Szczepanowo, Poland - just northwest of Posen.
Though some yet unknown fortuitous circumstances, my great-grandparents August and Wilhelmina Remus migrated independently to Anielowka, Volhynia about the same time. There they met and married as shown in their marriage record; to see the marriage record and something about their lives in Poland prior to Volhynia click August and Wilhelmine. For the almost 30 years they were in Volhynia, they lived in this and other nearby villages of Berestowitz and Kostopol. The general area they lived in is shown on this map.
Hard to Read the Map? Click here for the Adobe Acrobat Version.
After the nasty Polish revolution of 1860, many Germans left Poland for Volhynia for the personal safety and because the Nobles of Volhynia were selling land to German farmers (in Poland it was often only leased). The reason the land became available was that the Russian Czar had freed the Ukrainian serfs in 1861 and the serfs left the land. The land was too expensive for the serfs to buy so the Nobles derived no income from the land. Thus the land from Anielowka to Kostopol became available and contained many German villages.
Anielowka was a strassendorf (street village). That is, the houses of the villages were lined up close to each other on both sides of the street. Each house had a nearby small garden and out buildings but the bigger plots of land were on the out skirts of the village. If you click on the Anielowka Gallery, you will find pictures of the village including the old lady who told us about the village, pictures of the farm land and pictures of the graveyard (no German monuments remained). None of the buildings survived World War II so there are no remnants of the old German village.
Although my great-grandfather August lived in Anielowka, he had his business in nearby Postoina. This village was quite large but also contained no German artifacts. If you click on the Anielowka Gallery, you will also see a picture of the land around Postoina.
Many families resided in Anielowka including the Schultz and Bidermann families. These families remained friends and migrate with the August Remus family to Canada in 1891; August settled in Emerson, Manitoba and the Schultz and Biedermanns in Leduc, Alberta. Click on the Schultz family or Wilhelm Biederman(n) family to see his friend's family trees (they were in-laws, too). Click on manifest to see who was on the HMS Polynesian (the so called, "rolly polly", going to Canada in 1891.
My great-grandparents August and Wilhelmine moved to Berestowitz in 1874 with their children Wilhelm, August, Rudolph, and Karl. This village is 10 or 15 miles east of Anielowka on the same road as Anielowka and Postoina. This village was the location of the wonderful story about the marriage of August Remus' eldest son Wilhelm to Gottfried Deutschlander's daughter Maria (the Deutschlanders came from Zwadka near Klodawa and Ozorkow near Lodz in Russian Poland). To read the story, click the Wilhelm Remus and Maria Deutschlander Story. Wilhelm and Maria lived in a house on the main road just to the west of the village (all homes there were destroyed) - shown here in the map:
When we arrived in Berestowitz, a friend of George Maser (a Deutschlander descendent) hosted a big luncheon for our group at his friend Raisa's house. The food and drink was wonderful but the high point was her giving me a plaque honoring the Wilhelm Remus and Maria Deutschlander story. Following is a picture of Raisa greeting the group in the traditional Ukrainian way (a special salt cake) and a picture of me receiving the plaque.
Except for 1879 to 1883 when August and Wilhelmine lived near Kostopol, the Remus family lived in Berestowitz. This village too was a strassendorf originally. However the original village was totally destroyed in World War II and the new village was build in a different place than the old German village. The story is that the villagers would not tell the location of the anti-Nazi partisans and the Nazi's burned the village (some of the houses had people in them). Even the old cemetery is gone and the German remains reburied in the new village cemetery. Click WW II villagers to find out who lived in the village the prior to the Second World War. In the Berestowitz Gallery I have pictures of the location of the old German village.
In Berestowitz Pauline, Ernestine, Adoph, Edward (my grandfather), Reinhold, and Maria were born to August and Wilhelmine. In Berestowitz there also lived a number of families that later migrated to North America and who were friends with the Remus family. Click for the family tree of the Deutschlander family and the Christoph Hopp(e) family. The Deutschlander tree also has information on the Patzer, Domres and the Rapsky families.
From 1879 to 1883 my great-grandfather August Remus and family lived near Kostopol. August's business (he tried many businesses in addition to being a wheelwright) was in Kostopol. His son Karl was born there. This village was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt thereafter. It is a relatively large village owing to its prominence as a market town and a major rail stop. The railway station for Kostopol still remains from the prewar era; it is currently being restored. It must have brought many Germans to this area and later shipped them to the New World (and also Siberia in both World Wars).
The village of Marcelinhof lies between Kostopol and Berestowitz. These villages were close enough that the villagers knew and even intermarried. Here is a picture of a home and garden in that village; the homeowner said this was the oldest tree in the area so it must have shaded our ancestors.
The Hoppe family lived in this village including the descendents of Christoph Hoppe, a friend of the Deutschlander family back in Poland. The Hoppe family also intermarried with the Deutschlander family and Remus families. Many of the Hoppes migrated to the plains of Canada, not far from where August and Wilhelmina lived. Click Christoph Hoppe and Anna Marianna Deutschlander (both previously from Ozorkow) for a family tree. The Kesterke family later of Berrien County Michigan lived in Marcelinhof as did Christoph's likely brothers Heinrich and Albert Hoppe. Here is a picture of old friends Wilhelm Hoppe and wife Justine Domres (left) (Wilhelm was the son of Christoph Hoppe and Anna Marianna Deutschlander) with August Remus and Wilhelmine Harwardt (right) in Canada.
From Marcelinhof one can see the former site of Lisuch (Lessapol) where the main Lutheran church was for this area. Wilhelm Remus and Maria Deutschlander were married there and there is a nice story of their marriage in Lisuch in the Wilhelm Remus and Maria Deutschlander Story. All this villages were in a line on the road running Anielowka, Berestowitz, Marcelinhof, Lessapol, with Kostopol just a bit north of Lessapol and Marcelinhof. As is told in the above story, in 1892 the August Wilhelm Remus family migrated to Manitoba in 1892. They all started near Gretna MB. Eldest son Wilhelm purchased his first farm in Gretna but spent most of his life in Emerson MB. Son August settled in Altona MB. Father August Wilhelm and his other sons moved to SK to homestead around the turn of the century.
Please send any information and queries to Bill Remus at
September 25, 2005